Generators

Discussion in 'Preparedness' started by Poeschel, Dec 13, 2016.

  1. Poeschel

    Poeschel Tracker

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    looking to purchase one for the first time. Would like something with good power, quiet and somewhat portable. Would like to power the furnace and maybe a few small things like some lights. Also for use while boat/ car camping. Any suggestions on size or brand? Thanks
     
  2. oathkeeper762

    oathkeeper762 Bushbum & PT Wanderer Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Hard to beat the Honda EU series, the 2000 is great and portable if you don't need a big generator. They are generator/inverter combos which will supply clean power for electronics, very fuel efficient, and whisper quit in eco mode.


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  3. manitoulinbound

    manitoulinbound Apple Fritter Lover Supporter

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    Not sure if a generator that's large enough to run a furnace will be all that portable to be used for camping, although I am certainly no expert on generators. A lot of people in my area are installing back up generators in their home, which can be pretty darn expensive when bought new, but I have seen some almost ridiculous deals on used models that were only a year or two old. As for your actual question, I have a 4000 watt peak genny made by Champion, which is a very popular brand here in Canada with lots of sizes and good reviews. As for being portable, I could lift it in the back of my truck, but I would pay for it. I have a hitch rack to move it around if I need to. For general camping, I think a 3000 watt peak would be acceptable and you can easily move it. As 762 said, Honda genny's are nice too, I believe the Yamaha line up is pretty close in specs as well, but, they are obviously quite a bit more money. If I didn't read as many positive reviews on my off brand, I would have shelled out the money for a Yamaha.
     
  4. mahaney

    mahaney Guide

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    When you say run the furnace, how to do you intend to hook this up? I worked generators while in the military, you seem to want to buy a generator and use it
    at home,camping,fishing,on vacation,be quiet,provide all power needed,aaaaannnnnddddd
    be fuel efficient. Is that all? Something that will be big enough to power your home will not be very portable. You can get quiet generators, or you can get loud generators...Loud ones are generally lighter, quiet ones are heavier due to sound baffles in doors... You need to figure out how much load you are actually pulling- Amperage on furnace, lights, etc. And go from there. If it were me, I would get a generator for the house (with transfer switch) installed by qualified personnel. Then get one of the small Honda units for other stuff ass needed. The Honda are actually very portable, and pretty quiet but usually only around 2 Kw (2000 watts). Easy math is amperage X voltage. This will give you the required wattage.
     
  5. RavenLoon

    RavenLoon axology student Supporter

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    I would second the Honda EU 2000i. You could pair it with the second EU 2000ic companion generator to run it in series for 4000 watts. It also has a 30 amp receptacle. Each generator can be carried in one hand. There are also aftermarket fittings and hoses to run them with extended times off a larger gas tank.
     
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  6. Crusher0032

    Crusher0032 Scout

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    I ran my house off a 5500 watt through many storms. It won't run the AC but does everything else. I'm not sure if it would run a furnace, really would depend on what kind you have. I would recommend a safe alternative heat source rather than try to run your furnace off a generator. I used a wall mount propane heater for several years before I managed to afford a wood stove in this house, which worked very well as emergency heat. I'm all wood heat now but it wasn't cheap.

    That size generator is about as big as what I would consider still portable. I drag it up a set of ramps to get it into my truck bed to use it with my camper. Remember that if you setup your house to be ran off a generator that you do it safely so you don't kill a lineman somewhere nearby servicing your power lines or burn down your home. People recommend some crazy stuff when you start asking about generators.
    [​IMG]
    :eek:
     
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  7. Poeschel

    Poeschel Tracker

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    My particular furnace generally runs around 10 amps (blower motor). However on intial startup it can spike anywhere from 16-20 which would put me over on a 2000 watt unit. Thanks for the tips. Perhaps a more permanent install with a bigger unit running off natural gas is the way to go.
     
  8. T. Pollock

    T. Pollock Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    As others have said the little Honda gens are great for a portable unit but you'll need a good sized unit to run what you want to at your house. As a retired electrical contractor I can't stress enough that if you plan to use one on your house that you have a qualified licensed electrician do the work and then just to be sure it's done right make sure he's pulled a permit and it's inspected by your local electrical inspector. I've done work behind other licensed electricians and found stuff they did that was just crazy. Just because they have a license doesn't mean they are qualified! :dblthumb:
     
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  9. marbleman

    marbleman Scout

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    All good advice here. I found a "used for 20 hours" 5kw brand X gen for $200 on a local Craigslist.

    As mentioned, get proper transfer switching installed. The best thing you can do for it is to start it every 30 days. Let it run for 10 minutes, to get good and warm. Shut off the gas and let it run dry, it will reduce carburetor gas varnish. The next best thing is to get some Stay-bil gas treatment. Modern gas is pretty much crap, as far as lasting very long. A friend that works on small engines tole me that the marine version of Stay-bil is better, I don't know why.
     
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  10. Self Reliantist

    Self Reliantist Scout

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    I bought one of these for my trailer(just fits in the side compartment door), my wife can lift it and stuff it in there and get it out too. Come A/C season I'll pick up a twin and marry 'em up for the kick over wattage needed.

    Champion 1600/2000-Watt Inverter Generator : Cabela's

    Norm
     
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  11. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Lot's of ATVs and boats here in LA. It's called "Sea Foam", and the locals swear by it over Sta-Bil.
     
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  12. mahaney

    mahaney Guide

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    Sea Foam is awesome for cleaning carbs!! Have used it on many a portable gen to clean out the crap.
    I would stay away from the natural gas generators. Everyone I have had to use sucked. The Air Force actually will not allow them for buildings due to how bad they are. Again I can't stress enough if you get a generator, use a transfer switch. A double throw switch is an easy install and pretty much dummy proof. Run it every month and put load on the generator!
    I highly recommend Onan/Cummins and Kohler for house units. They are pretty popular and service techs can get parts as needed because they are the main manufacturers.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2016
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  13. Crusher0032

    Crusher0032 Scout

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    Plus one on the seafoam for everything with an engine. I have a '67 model outboard that gets sea foamed every fall when I put it up. Starts on the 2nd or 3rd pull every spring and all I do is put in new fuel and go fishing.
     
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  14. CharClothed

    CharClothed Scout

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    Why not go green and practically invisible? Goal Zero 1250 is a Electric Generator which you can store indoors, use indoors, and won't make a noise. Can power fridges for a while and if you get the kit, you can recharge it using solar panels.
    GOALZERO
     
  15. WY_Not

    WY_Not Supporter Supporter

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    Maybe I'm missing something but why do people insist on calling those things generators? They are just battery backups. They don't generate anything.
     
  16. Max Capacity

    Max Capacity Supporter Supporter

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    And what do you do if it's a storm that lasts for several days with no sun?
     
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  17. Mike Victory:

    Mike Victory: Tracker

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    I know everybody raves about the Honda 2000i but after 2 years I can understand why it has some many who love it.
    Last year my ran in sub zero temperature for 50-60 hours straight.
    All it need afterwards was an oil change.
    Price at $1000 but worth it.
    There are some limitations: like trying to run even a small table saw. Don't get it for a construction generator.
    Otherwise for small jobs like keeping on the lights, a refrigerator, and fans...
    S0 far I give it an A.

    With discounts, you can get one this time of year for around $800.

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. Verkstad

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    And a wimpy gawdawfuly overprice solar & battery system at that.

    Said that,
    I am not above selling cheezy overhyped crap to clueless rubes.
    Wish I had a portion of Goal Zeros profits...
     
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  19. Max Capacity

    Max Capacity Supporter Supporter

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    Lots of RV'rs use these smaller generators. Recently watched a YT video by a RV couple on the Briggs and Stratton 2000 and 3000 watt models. They gave both a good review they are less expensive than the Honda or Yamaha.
     
  20. Foulwind

    Foulwind Guide

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    I have a Powermate (Purchased at Costco)9500W with Honda 13hp ( I think its Honeywell?). It's not the nosiest generator out there, but its not the quietest either. At some point I'll get a transfer switch and house plug for 240VAC but until then I simply an extension cord to the house then to all the things requiring juice during power outages.
     
  21. Swampdog

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    I own a Honda eu3000i that has been serving me well for over seven years. At the time I purchased it, it was the only generator allowed to be used in U.S. National Parks because it was so quiet. Yes, Hondas are expensive but they sip fuel and up saving you money in the long run.
     
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  22. LongAgoLEO

    LongAgoLEO Scout

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    I have several inexpensive 3750 to 4000 surge units for supplementing an off-grid trappers cabin and a couple of fish houses. Also have an old Honda for power tools in the shed, etc. I typically run my cheapo Pro Force for a week or more at a time in subzero weather without so much as a hiccup (save for low oil shutoff and running out of fuel). Not quiet, but I can't hear worth a hoot anyway. The skid house supports a ceiling fan, television, coffee maker, microwave and all kinds of other gizmos the kids bring along and the generator never even groans. And yup, even Christmas lights. Have a meter on an interior outlet and it's rare to drop below 117v.

    Mille Lacs '14 - 046.JPG
     
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  23. arleigh

    arleigh Guide

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    I do not have one but the inverter type generators are the cat's whiskers.
    Most people on other forums seem to love them.
    I personally am on a battery system using several means to maintain them, I only have generators when the grid goes down.
    I have several generators "old style " the mane one is a 6500 watt yan mar diesel . fuel does not age like gas, and the diesel engines last longer over all.
    It's is best to have more power available than you actually need for several reasons
    1. most stuff now days is over rated ,,,,fact .
    Keep in mind that any thing with a motor is going to pull significant amperage getting started, up to 3X the full load rating or more.
    2. pushing stuff to it's limits is one sure way to discover them.
    3. One of the reasons I like the newer technology of inverter type generators is they do not run any harder then the demand requires . Older generators must run at speed all the time to maintain the 60 cycle phase .
    The little honda shown , a friend of mine has and is temperamental and has a weak spark . new we had trouble getting it started , and consecutive times as well.
    I don't care for the design, as a small engine mechanic.
    If you look inside, the ignition coil is a long way from the fly wheel. "poor design".
    No matter what you do with it , If you must run extension cords, use the largest wire available #14 is smaller than #12 and only short runs.
    Every connection/extension, adds load like adding several more feet like a choke to the distance, both to the generator and appliance being used.
     
  24. Edgeman

    Edgeman Scout

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    We had a hurricane (Isabell) that came up the coast about 10 years ago, and I couldn't find a generator anywhere locally. Talked to some people who had relatives bring them generators from the mid-west. Wow! The night before it hit, I found a Honda retailer on the west coast that had free shipping anywhere in the continental US, so I ordered a EU-2000. Thankfully my power was restored after ~10 hours, so I didn't need it when it eventually arrived.

    I've used it multiple times since, and couldn't be happier. Quiet, fuel efficient...a real quality piece of equipment!
     
  25. .356luger

    .356luger Scout

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    I run my NG furnace with ease its the in rush or elec furnace that cause problems. With a smaller generator you could overcome the issue with a secondary capacitor known as a hard start kit. If you have to look it up I dont advise it.

    Most portables will carry a few rooms and a furnace, but not the well pump or fridge at the same time. They also come with their own breaker which you know saves the wire not the machine.

    I agree with this statement completely. I'm not a licenced electrician, in my profession in aloud to run 6' of power no matter what the voltage 4-20ma to 4160ac once it hits the equipment its mine. Power is a killer for sure its the same stuff your body runs off of to make the whole thing work. When you hit 50 cal arc flash territory I usually call in the spacemen to handle the wire landing and switch gear throws.
    120v kills alot of people because its so prevalent the mid range 3 phase grabs you and the 460+ blows you off. Good advice honestly.
     
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  26. mahaney

    mahaney Guide

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    I agree with a natural gas furnace, the gen is only having to run the fan, not much load, probably not more than 10-15 amps. I would still highly recommend getting either a double throw attached to the house or a ATP it will be fairly pricy, but in the long run way worth it. The only other way to run the furnace would be to make some sort of suicide cord but that is way unsafe and can't recommend that to anyone.

    All the hard start is doing is storing electricity to help with the initial startup of the high amperage so you don't fry your alternator...or bog down the engine.
     
  27. .356luger

    .356luger Scout

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    You can always do it the easy way with a house side (shore power) female repair plug and a load side male plug (up stream of the ssu) and run it on an extension cord in a pinch. No shore connection = no lineman danger=good. That's how I did mine when the polar vortex hit me before I got ready a few years ago.
     
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  28. 1773

    1773 Guide

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    Please don't do that, you could very easily electrocute someone, please have a disconnect installed to disconnect your house from the power grid while using your generator. The current from your generator can feed back into the grid and re-energize electrical lines and then someone who thinks the line is dead attempts to move it tragedy can strike. It almost happened to me during a severe winter storm a few years ago when I was cutting downed trees out of the powerline ROW so the lines could be reinstalled. For some reason I asked the linemen we were working with to test a conductor that was laying in a tree top I was getting ready to clear. He said it has to be dead because of where previous outages were. I had him check it anyway to humor me, guess what it was hot because a homeowner down the road was running a generator without a disconnect and it was feeding back into the line. Obviously he had not intention of hurting anyone he was just trying to power his house but the results could have been very bad. If you can't afford a true disconnect at least throw the main breaker, this is not fool proof but is better than nothing.

    Please don't take this the wrong way, I am not trying to jump on you because I don't think you want to hurt anyone but rather that you just didn't realize the risk as most people don't know that can happen and I didn't until that day.
     
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  29. wwang

    wwang Scout

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    Combo of goal zero, battery backup, and a generator works really well. Makes it quiet and once the batteries get low you can recharge using the generator. So you have quite till the batteries get low.

    The Honda s are great, they are quiet. And you can stand over them and have a conversation with out shouting with it on, at your feet! But it still makes noise and the ability to run stealth is nice. So if you have the funds going combo is a great idea. And nice to you and your neighbors.

    If you don't care, get the BIG one, and who cares about the noise.


    Dreaming of camping or aquaponics and the pond.
     
  30. Foulwind

    Foulwind Guide

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    1773 you clearly mis understood what I typed. No where in my post did I explain that I was plugging my house into an extension cord! I stated that I simply run an extension to house then plug things that require power!
    I'm eventually going to have a transfer switch installed so that when I do have a house plug for my generator, I can safely plug my house into my generator. During power outages we only have a few items that need juice, those include fridge, and s few lights.
    Now I know you can't know this but I'm a senior field service eng, I deal with 208AVC in my tool set all the time. I'm fully well aware of the dangers of "Back feeding".
    So until I get my utility disconnect I'll be running extension cords!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  31. Dave L.

    Dave L. Supporter Supporter

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    I have a 6,500w Generac gas generator. It' runs my whole 3,300sqft. house in the winter without any issues.
    It's on wheels so it's portable, but it would take two grown in-shape men to lift it into the back of a truck bed.
    It's 220 capable.
    I have a jumper box in my garage, with an outlet running to the exterior of my house. I shut off my main before firing it up. We made an extension cord to go from the generator to the outlet on the exterior of my house.
    It's not quiet by a long shot and I have a massive chain to keep it secured to my porch. I would never use it in a SHTF scenario unless it was an emergency but for simple power outages, my entire rural area has them running.
    My area is quieter when the power is on!

    I'll eventually buy either a Honda Companion or the Harbor Freight version to have as a backup. The HF version can actually handle more starting watts apparently and can be had in September (National Preparedness Month I think) for about $350-$380 with their coupon. Much cheaper than the Honda.
     
  32. Verkstad

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    Fwiw, remember oil furnace has 2 motors, will draw considerable more current than a comparable size gas furnace.

    Anyway, strictly fuel dollar per kWh. A syncronous generator running at about 80% of its max is best efficient.
    But inverter generators are better for constantly varying loads.
     
  33. 1773

    1773 Guide

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    Yes sir I did misunderstood what you typed the way I read your sentence I though you were running the extension cord into the house's electrical system which I have seen done more times than plugging in the appliances or having a service disconnect. I didn't read it as you were plugging each appliance into the extension cord, sorry for the misunderstanding. You are also correct I had no idea of your background and that you were aware of the issue. I just don't want to see someone get hurt because someone didn't realize that the generator will backfeed electricity into the power grid. Though I am not an electrician or a lineman I see incredibly dangerous things done with electricity on a regular basis. Once again I apologize for the misunderstanding.
     
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  34. Dualsport225

    Dualsport225 Tracker

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    I'm firmly on the Honda bandwagon. I've got the EU2000 and the companion version coupled together to run my little townhouse. They are all everyone says about them, and a little more. With these, I can also relocate if needed and bring the electricity with me! If either one fails, the other one will still power my furnace (gas so it's just the fan and controls), fridge, freezers, and enough lights. I tested it and I can run all that and a load of laundry. No dryer, since that's 220. I got lucky and my hot water heater is gas so no load there.

    A little 4 circuit transfer switch was all we needed.

    Part of what drew me to the Hondas was the fact that I was a motorcycle mechanic briefly and these run a little bitty motorcycle carb. I understand those! I have had to clean out the microscopic main jet these use a few times, but that's my own fault and it's easy to do.

    The "modern" gas cans are an insult to the world, but if you look at motorsport type shops, you can still buy simpler 5 gallon cans meant for racing. They're kind of pricy, but way cooler and easier to use. As well as being about 3x thicker and more robust.
     
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  35. Foulwind

    Foulwind Guide

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    I understand, I can only hope your explanation of what NOT to will be heard. I know it can happen, most likely has! (Scary part ) not only dangerous for anyone working on the line, a fire danger to home as well!
    Happy holidays[emoji482]



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  36. 1773

    1773 Guide

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    Merry Christmas to you as well Foulwind
     
  37. Eric Westbrook

    Eric Westbrook Supporter Supporter

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    A 5000-5500W generator will run a whole house, including a well, as long as the major appliances are gas or not used while gen is operating. The big Gen Killers are A/C, Elec water heaters, elec range and elec dryer.

    A forced air gas furnace only uses about 10A, a little spike when the blower starts but that's short term. 10a = 1200W

    That's why they have dual ratings...continuous and starting capability.

    And what ever you do, do it safe, shut off your main if you tie a gen into your elec panel. Those transformers on the pole outside work both ways, you feed 240 out on the line and it turns it into 7200+ for the guy out on the pole trying to fix things!

    AND if your backfeeding out on the line when the power comes back on...your gen will loose and its real ugly!
     
  38. saxdm9

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    My Yamaha portable inverter generator, now ten years old, has only required annual or semiannual tear down of the carburetor for stuck float, dirty jet, or both. Two years ago I started running only ethanol-free in it and improving vastly. Runs an hour every month with all the load I can find, often a 700 watt space heater. Great generator. It's good to run no more more than 110vac 7 amps, so will do my fridge, power drill, small air compressor, and charge batteries. Hondas seem to have more authorized service centers than Yamaha. So I do almost all the service myself. Lucky so far. Then again, if SHTF, I wanna fix my own stuff as long as i can fuel it.
     
  39. Max Capacity

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    I put a propane conversion kit in my Honda 6KW portable generator. I can run gasoline or propane. Last time we were out for an extended length of time it was difficult to find gasoline. Having a backup fuel supply is comforting.
     
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  40. Alex Blain-Laider

    Alex Blain-Laider Tracker

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    Love my Honda EU2000i!
     
  41. CaliforniaCanuck

    CaliforniaCanuck Guide

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    I've thought about getting a generator but it turns out that my reason has more to do with me just liking gadgets and engines than a genuine need for one.

    I like the yamaha 2000 followed by the honda then the generac.

    My main and best reason that might justify one is to run my jobsite size table saw in a remote location.

    Things I couldn't justify it for:

    - making power to heat the house - we have enough sleeping bags, comforters and coats to stay warm in colder than -40 deg, even though it never gets below 50 deg

    - power to run the fridge/freezer - not necessary if you eat the most perissible food first then what's left in the freezer, that's not more than a week's food, then eat the longer shelf life foods like dry and can foods.

    - power for lights - I have more flashlights and lanterns that I'll ever outlast and my wife has received more candles from her girlfriends that I think one family could burn in a year! Seriously, what's with candles women!

    - power for charging cell phone and laptop batteries - if I have gasoline I'm using it in my car and while driving I'll charge the batteries while driving!


    The only major reason I could see a generator being truly necessary is to power a pump to move pump water. I personally don't have access to a fresh water source, but being able to pump water, after the power goes out, would be HUGE!
     
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  42. Soilman

    Soilman Scout

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    I don't know you exact situation, but here is what I did. I bought a 7000 watt generator that I keep strapped to a wheeled pallet with a wagon handle on it in a shed. It is portable enough wheel it out under the car port when needed, or even roll it up ramps onto a truck bed. I don't try to power the whole house, or even the furnace. We have gas logs for heat in the winter, and I have a window unit AC I can hook up in the summer. I switch off breakers to all unnecessary rooms and items. I even switch off the water heater until 30 minutes or so before one of us takes a shower. Refrigerator, freezers stay on, as do the lights and other incidental electrical needs for the rooms we use. I probably do overkill on what I cut off, but I'd rather do that than chance straining or overloading the generator.

    I crank up my generator once a year, during the summer to make sure it is working, and change the oil and plugs if it has been used much the preceding year. Do NOT wait until a storm is on the horizon to do this! If you do, and it won't crank, you will likely find your generator in line behind a dozen others at the repair shop.

    I've about decided that after retirement and when buy our retirement home, I'm going to invest in a whole house automatic generator system.
     
  43. Muleman77

    Muleman77 Scout

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    I also have had great service from a honda 2000. We were off the grid until just a year or so back, and charged a solar system battery bank with it. Probably put about 2000 hors on it, and had a valve adjustment and full service 1 time at the dealer. Otherwise just regular oil changes and run it. We still use it for power outages. We don't need it for heat,water, or cooking just lights and the refrigeration. It's just enough, but as little fuel as they use, how quiet, and how easy to operate it's pretty nice. A can of fuel will get you along for several days pretty comfortable the way we use it
     
  44. Roughneck75

    Roughneck75 Supporter Supporter

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    Honda, buy once, cry once! Don't forget to load bank your generator initially when new and yearly afterwards. This process initially will set the engine rings and future will clean out the value train. Lots of info out there on this.
     

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